Art Time With a Buddy: 3 Fun Prompts to Play With Art | Shelley Skail | Skillshare

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Art Time With a Buddy: 3 Fun Prompts to Play With Art

teacher avatar Shelley Skail, Artist, Illustrator, friendly nerd

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (33m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Class Project

    • 3. Prompt One: I Like Big Blobs

    • 4. Prompt Two: It's ALIVE!

    • 5. Prompt Three: I Like To Move It!

    • 6. Final Project

    • 7. Other Applications

    • 8. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Looking for something a bit different to do? Come join me on an art journey where we will journey from the abstract to the figurative - collaboratively!


In this class we'll use collaborative play with abstract and figurative art to tap into our creativity. I'll give you lots of tips on how to get the best from this process and show you how we can play with a buddy to produce unexpected and interesting pieces of art.

We'll go through the process of:

  • getting confident with colour and line
  • bringing shapes to life
  • adding movement to simple images (it’s easier than it sounds!)
  • working collaboratively with ourselves and others
  • tapping into our creativity and sense of fun

You don't have to have any art experience to take this class; we will try out three prompts and I'll share my tips to help you loosen up and have fun. And if you're an experienced artist, I will share my personal tips on how to use a collaborative approach to tap into your creativity and sense of fun to create new and interesting pieces

By the end of this class we will have experimented with abstract and figurative art in a playful way, and uncovered some (more?) joy in using them to create our own artworks.

So let's do this - see you in class!

Meet Your Teacher

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Shelley Skail

Artist, Illustrator, friendly nerd


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1. Introduction: Mom I'm bored. Finished Netflix? Looking for something a bit different to do together? Come join me on an art journey where I'll take you from the abstract to the figurative, together. Hi, my name is Shelley Skail. I'm an artist, illustrator and teacher. I love painting with watercolors and ink. I tend to make art that's somewhat whimsical. Art can often be a solitary past-time, but for me it's always been connected with others. My grandmother taught me arts and crafts, and I've passed that on to my daughter now. In this class, I'm going to take you on an art journey, tapping into your creativity, and keeping it really loose and fun. We're going to do this with the help of someone else. A buddy. This can be a real life other a person, or it can be the other side of you. Literally, your non-dominant hands. How this works is your buddy starts a piece and you finish off and vice-versa. Why do this with another person? Well, working in this way can help you be a lot less precious about what you're creating. It transforms art into a game, into play, and that helps you loosen up and tap into your well of creativity. Throughout this class, we're going to look at getting bold and confident with color and lighting, adding simple elements that bring shapes to life. Then adding more details to give movement to your images, all while taking inspiration from somewhere else. By the end of this class, you're going to have created four original pieces of art using a starter image and color set from your buddy. I really love this because you can create things you would never have originally dreamed of. It gives you permission to explore and to have fun, to tap into that childlike wonder with art. If you're not confident in using color or line, this is a great place to start. If you'd like to take the leap in to figurative art, but can't quite get started on it, let a buddy help you get there. If you're an artist and you're not having fun, let's rethink your approach. Maybe you're looking for something relaxing or a bit fun. Maybe you're burned out or bored. I've got you. I've been there, and doing this kind of creative play with my daughter has been really uplifting. Are you ready? Go grab a buddy or your non-dominant hand, and let's get started. 2. Class Project: Hello again. What we going to do in this class? We are going to create at least four different collaborative pieces of art. Basically, I have three separate problems for you that allow you to explore different things that build into our final project. You can work on one prompt a day or a week, or do them all at once over a fun weekend. Each prompt should take about 20 minutes to an hour depending on how long you want to spend on it. These are fun activities to do with a friend and let loose. In prompt 1, I like big blobs, we'll get to grips with color and line. Then in prompt 2, it's alive, we'll add small thickets of elements to bring these colors to life. Next, we'll go all out with fun figurative details. Prompt 3, I like to move it. Then we'll bring these all together for our final project. Along the way, I'll share my tips to help you access your creativity. As well as, how to add small but powerful details to help create your pieces without tying yourselves into knots in the process. The choices you make about the colors you use, and the shape and placement of your marks is what will make your pieces so uniquely yours and so interesting. You'll need the following materials for this class. You'll need something to put down color quickly with, paint, Ink, chunky markers. If you're using paints or Ink you'll need brushes, water, and a rag, or a paper towel. You'll need paper that's suitable for the kinds of coloring material you're using. You'll need at a minimum one black pen. It can be a black biro or a sharpie. If you've got more colors or white pens, bring them along too, that'll be fun. You'll need a buddy or your non-dominant hand as well. Along the way, please upload your creations to the projects gallery. You can see there's the projects section there, and when you click in it, you'll have the option to add new. Once you're in there, you can add your images and your texts and save it, and it's something you can go back to and add into as you go, if you like, or you can save it all up and do it afterwards. Feel free to tag me on Instagram if you like to share your art there. I'm @ShellyScale. I'd love to see what you make. I hope you find this a fun and relaxing class, and if you've got any questions, comments, or thoughts along the way, feel free to share them in the discussion section of this class. Are you ready for your first lesson? Come join me. 3. Prompt One: I Like Big Blobs: Hi again. Welcome back. In this lesson, we're going to look at how to use bold color and simple lines to create satisfying abstract pieces of art. Now, if you're new to working with color or you find it a bit intimidating, don't worry. We're going to limit the number of colors we use to between three and five, and that can help make a more cohesive piece. Pick whichever colors are calling to you today. Don't worry about color theory or what will look right or not, just pick the ones that when you look at what you've got, they go, "pick me", and I want you to fill your page with big, bold blobs of these color. They can be irregularly shaped. They don't have to be neat or tidy. It's totally up to you. You can let them overlap, that can sometimes create interesting effects. You can also have them separate or do a combination of both. Try out different things and see what works for you today and what you find interesting and appealing. When you're happy with the blobs on your page, let it dry if it needs to and then swap with your buddy, or if you're doing it by yourself, make sure you've made another one with your non-dominant hand. When you get your buddy's piece of paper, make sure to turn it in different directions and see what it says to you. There may be a direction that jumps out at you and says, this is the one. Then when you're ready, I want you to take a pen, either black, white, or metallic, or all of the above, and add lines to this piece of art. The lines can be straight or wiggly. They can be neat and ordered or messy and all over the place. They can be confined to one small piece of the page or cover the whole thing. They can go on top of the blobs or avoid them or whatever you feel like today. Have a go and see where your lines take you, and I should say, if you really want to just use two colors for your blobs, or seven or 10, go for it. I'm not the boss of you and have fun with it. That's the point. If you want to use a different color for making your lines that isn't black or white or metallic, do that too and enjoy the process. Have fun with it. When you're ready, take some time and look at what you've created jointly, either with your non-dominant hand or with your real-life buddy, share it with us in the project's gallery, please, and then come join me in the next lesson where we're going to add small details to turn abstract lines into things which are alive. Come see me there. Bye. 4. Prompt Two: It's ALIVE!: Hi again, welcome back. What's all this about making things come alive? Well, in this lesson, we're going to look at how to take swipes of color and simple marks to create fun figurative art without fear. Sometimes taking the leap from abstract or landscape art and do something figurative can feel quite scary, but it doesn't have to. Using some simple marks, we can transform swipes of color into living things and we can have fun while we're doing it. We're going to make simple creatures like fish or snakes or worms. Like in the last lesson, we'll keep our colors limited to between three and five to make things simpler. For adding your figurative details, use a black pen, a biro, Sharpie, anything like that's fine. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. What I'd like you to do is start by filling up your page with swipes of color. You can have these swipes overlap or stay separate or do a little bit of both. You can see that me and my buddy Momo are both painting our swipes, but we're taking a bit of a different approach. I'm leaving quite a lot of white space on the page and my buddy is quite enthusiastically filling up her page with different colored swipes. It's all fine. Take whichever approach brings you the most joy to do and have fun with it. Enjoy putting the color down on the page and seeing what the results are. When you're ready and when your colors are dry, swap with your buddy and turn the page in different directions. Look for the creatures. Look for the direction that feels right to you. If nothing does feel right to you, don't worry about it, just pick one direction and then go with it. The simplest way I think to make things come alive is by adding eyes and that can be as simple as dots. You can extend that and make them into ovals or circles. Really big eyes relative to the size of the creature tends to make things look young or cute or both. If you want to add expression, I've created a little guide in the resources section that I will talk you through now for different eye shapes. If you draw eyes in the rainbow shape, that makes things look happy. If you do an upside down rainbow that can make things look asleep or peaceful. If you draw angled lines that come down towards the middle where they meat, that makes things look angry. If you do angled lines or curved lines coming up towards where they meet, that tends to make things look worried. If you draw two V shapes pointing in towards one another, it makes it look like the creature is trying really hard. Go ahead. You can add eyes. If you want to turn these into fish, you can use a simple C shape for fins and the tails, or a 3 shape for the fin or the tails or a mixture of both. When you've got your body swipes and you're looking for somewhere to start, it's a little bit like cloud watching, where you lie and look at the clothes and try and see shapes in them. That's the mindset you're trying to get into to see these swipes of color as fish or worms or snakes. Just take a moment to try and get into that cloud watching mindset when you're looking at your swipes. Then try and pull out what could be a fish or a worm or a snake. If you get really stuck, just pick one of them and put an eye on it. It's a good place to start and maybe that can kick start you into seeing the potential and all the marks that's on the page. You can see me and my buddy have slightly different approaches to creating our creatures. I am keeping the details quite simple and in some cases, I'm drawing in some outlines to help the creature stand out a bit more because there's a lot of color here. You can see my buddy Momo, she's doing a lot of detail on her creatures and she really enjoys working in that detailed way. Both of these are completely fine. Try whichever approach you prefer or something different entirely to create the creatures you see. Maybe you'll see one or two creatures in the swipes or maybe you'll see loads and want to draw them all in, that's all fine. Do whatever calls to you to do and try and relax and enjoy the process of finding and drawing out these creatures from the swipes. When you're ready, come join me in the next lesson, we're going to add limbs and get a bit silly. Come join me for some poses. I'll see you in the next lesson, bye. 5. Prompt Three: I Like To Move It!: Hey there, welcome back. In this lesson we're going to take our figurative art a step further by adding in limbs and poses. If that sounds intimidating to you, don't worry. This will be fun and silly, and create a safe space where you can play with ideas and different poses and just have fun with it. For this lesson I highly recommend using paint, or ink, or a food coloring that you can put your fingers in and it's safe to do so, because I'm going to suggest that you make fingerprints of color all over your page. In a pinch you can do this with tea and coffee, although you don't get the same variety of color. I think there's something quite fun and playful by having your different colors. If you are using color I'd suggest, again, sticking to between three and five colors. For adding on the limbs, just a simple black biro or a sharpie pen should work fine, although feel free to use any pen that brings you joy to do. Oh, I should say, if you don't like getting your fingers messy or you don't have anything that it's safe to do that with, then you can always just use a chunky marker or a pen and draw fingerprint sized blobs on your page. That's fine as well. Just that fingerprints are faster, and something about using your fingers in that tactile way, I think, can help bring out that playful, child-like side in us which is so key for creativity. But use what you have and use it in a way that feels good for you to do. Cover your page with fingerprints of different colors. Make sure when you do this to leave some white space around your fingerprints to add in the limbs. Although it's fine to have some overlapping that can give you interesting possibilities for what you're going to do with these fingerprints. Go ahead, make your finger friends, enjoy the process, have fun with it. When you're finished with this step, wash your fingers, draw your materials if you need to, and then swap with your buddy or make one with your other hand too. As before, turn your page around to find the direction that looks right for you. Once you've got your buddy's page in front of you, full of dots of color, you might be wondering where to start. My recommendation is if you've got an idea in your head of something, you've been wanting to try out, something with the limbs, arms, and legs, but you've not been entirely sure how it would work, just have a go. Get your biro or your sharpie, and try it. There should be lots of dots of color, so if it doesn't quite work the first time, that's okay. Just try on another one. You can use this as a space to try out ideas and see what works, what doesn't, and learn from it. If you really don't have any ideas at all, why don't you draw a person sitting the way you're sitting right now? Just copy what you can see. That's sometimes a way to get started, or copy how your buddy is sitting, or if there's something you can see maybe out of a window, maybe there's a cat or a spider or a bird, try and really simply sketch their limb positions. That can sometimes just be enough to kick-start you into that creative mindset. These don't have to be detailed. I'm talking about stick figure creatures here. It's really simple and it can just let you play with position, with different poses. You can add eyes to give them some expression if you like, and have fun creating your miniature world of creatures and people. In the next lesson we're going to bring all of these different ways of collaborating together for our final project, so come see me there. Bye. 6. Final Project: Hello. Welcome back. What now? What's this final project all about then? Well, what I'd like you to do is take all of the elements that we've been practicing so far and put them all together to create something truly collaborative. I'd like you to start by whatever size of page you're using, fill half of it with some color. These can be big blobs like in our first lesson, swipes like in our second, fingerprints like in the last lesson or a combination of all three. Again, please limit yourself to between three and five colors, and have colors that you're willing to share with your buddy. That's the start. Go ahead, start your picture. You're going to set the scene for your buddy to complete. Once this piece is dry, swipe with your buddy or make another one with your other hand. Then again, take your buddy's initial piece of art and turn that in different directions till you find the way that you want to work with right now. Then I want you to complete your buddy's picture. So you've got half of the page with no color on it, so I'd like you to add some colorful elements that complement what's already there. Once you've got your buddy's blobs and swipes and dots in front of you, if you're really not sure where to start, try using their colors to make marks in the same way that they've made them. If they've got really big blobs on one side, maybe you want to balance that by having some really big blobs on the other side. If they've got marks going in one direction, maybe you want to continue that on your side. Then maybe you want to add some elements of your own as something that covers both sides, and that's fine. Once you've added some elements to the white space, you can add more elements to the space that they've already drawn on. Then once you've got all your colors done, then you can sit back, look at it while you're getting your pens out and it's drying and decide where you want to take this. If you're stuck, I suggest going back to what we did in our first lesson and picking somewhere on the page to add lines to. Pick your favorite kind of lines, wherever that might be, and just go with that. Once you get started, that should hopefully snowball your ideas. Then maybe you want to add a little thing over here and over there, and it can just grow as you start making marks. Give it a try. See where it takes you. It's about the journey rather than the destination for all of this. Take your time, enjoy the process. There's no right or wrong way to do this. It's just interesting to see what comes out when we play in this creative way. It's also interesting to see what other people do with our starting ideas. I think it's quite fun, once you're finished, to have a look at what your buddy's done or even look at each other's works while you're creating it. You may take inspiration from what the other person is doing. Maybe you've got a really strong idea in your head, something you want to try. If you do, do it, go for it. Then if time allows, maybe try again and see what comes next. Once you've got all these ideas out and onto the page, take a minute to sit back, and congratulate yourself for everything that you've achieved. You've done a lot. Maybe there were parts of it that were scary to you, so that's an even bigger achievement to do stuff that scares you. So congratulate yourself. You've done really well. Please do post us in the project section. I'd love to see what you've done and take inspiration. Hopefully, when you look at other people's work there, that will give you further inspiration. I've got some thoughts to share with you in the next lesson about other applications for this collaborative creative process. So come join me there. Bye. 7. Other Applications: Hey. We've got one more lesson, so we're not wrapping up quite yet and I think it's quite important. It's about other ways to use these creative tools. The first thing I would say is that if you did these exercises with our real-life body, I suggest taking the time to try them again with your non-dominant hand. Using the hand that's less trained means you have less control over what you create. That can be a bit frustrating, but it can also be freeing if you let go of control. Because you know that you can control it as well as your dominant hand, sometimes that can help you access a more free, fun, creative place than you might otherwise be in touch with. It's super fun to contact that playful artistic sites. I strongly recommend that if you've got the time. You can even take that a step further and write yourself a letter in your non-dominant hands. Maybe imagine that you're a younger version of yourself looking at you now and what you've created and what you just did today, and what that younger version of you thinks about that. Sometimes because our handwriting is usually a lot messier with our non-dominant hand and harder as well, that can help get in touch with that into child's more creative free part of you. You may want to give that a try and see where that takes you as well. At a totally different direction, you can take this idea of taking inspiration from what other people have created and use that to help develop your art, as well as making studies of paintings that inspire you. Maybe from the great masters I've got a lot of art around me that I really like and helps inspire me, but there's also a thing on Instagram where artists encourage you to copy their work in your own style. There's a hashtag called draw this in your style, DTIYS. If you have a look for that you can find lots of different images where you're encouraged actually to copy it, but in your own way. That can be really fun because you're not starting with a blank page. You've got someone else's idea that you just translate in your own way. You don't need to have a style and particular that you draw in. Really anything that you draw is your style. Don't let that notion of having a style put you off. However you draw something that is your style. I find they're quite helpful, it gets me to try things I wouldn't normally try. For example, I took part in one that was of a tiny dragon. I made this painting using a color palette; earthy color palette that I don't usually use. It was gray. I learned so much about my paints, about using these kinds of colors. It was really very inspiring, so I thoroughly recommend that trying out other things on for size and seeing what you learned from them. But now we really are coming to the end of this class. I've got one more video where I share my final thoughts with you and say goodbye. Come join me in the next lesson for that. Bye. 8. Final Thoughts: Hey, you made it. Well done. We've looked at everything from abstract blobs of color through to collaborative figurative art made with others. In all of that, if there's one thing that I'd like for you to take away from this it's that making art can be relaxing, it can be simple, and it can be fun. As a final reminder, please upload your creations to the projects gallery, so we can all enjoy one another's work. If you liked this class, please do give me a follow, so that you'll get notified when my next class comes out. If you look on my profile, you'll see my other classes there and you can also follow me on Instagram, that's here, the @Shelleyskail. Please do leave me a review, that really helps. So thank you so much for coming on this journey with me. Until next time, goodbye.